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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  December 16, 2012 2:00am-3:00am PST

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>> thank you. >> i'll be back tomorrow night for a special editions of "a.c. 360" from newtown at 8:00 and 10:00 tomorrow. but our coverage continues right now. hello, everyone, from newtown, connecticut, a small town, virtually unknown until yesterday when it became the scene of one of the worst mass killings in american history. i'm don lemon. let me pass on some new developments that have come just
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this evening. the father of the alleged shooter, we've heard from. peter lanza released a statement, part of it says, quote, our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. no words can truly express how heartbroken we are. he is the father of adam lanza. this is a picture of him from just a few years ago. he is now 20 years old who police say walked into an elementary school yesterday and just started shooting. 20 children, all of them 6 or 7 years old, were killed. six adults, teachers and staff, including the principal, they're all dead now, too. the shooter killed himself. this is where police are trying to answer all the questions. they're trying to answer the questions why. the lanza home, not far from the school. it's also where the suspected shooter's mother was found dead as well. today, the father and aunt of one of the shooting victims in newtown, connecticut, went before cameras to remember a
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child they described as incredible but in remembering little emilie parker, they said, they're praying for the shooter's family, too, because that's what she would have wanted. kyung lah was there. kyung, what stuck out to you most of all when you were talking to these people and you watched all of this? >> the ability of them to be able to still think of other people and society in the face of an unspeakable loss. if you're a parent, if you have children who you love and you think about this happening to yourself, it's really hard to comprehend, then being able to face national cameras, reporters and make a statement about society. but that's what this family has done. and here is a little bit of what they said. >> emilie was a mentor to her two little sisters and delighted in teaching them how to read, dance and find the simple joys in life. emilie's laughter was infectious
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and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she's been in it. >> emilie alice parker was the sweetest little girl i've ever known. my children are grieving. my siblings across the country are grieving and we're just devastated that someone so beautiful and perfect is no longer going to be in our lives and for no reason. >> as we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many people, let it not turn into something that defines us. but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people. >> what he said is that he simply wanted people to be able to become more tolerant, to be more humane.
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he is hoping that this is going to be an event where people look not at the shooter, not at the crime itself but in trying to become better people for the greater good of society. it's really, truly remarkable, this father came here eight months ago with his family to this small community to take a job at a neonatal section of the local hospital here. he's here to try to help children get better and yet his child was lost due to gun violence. in the face of unspeakable loss, don, for him to be able to step outside of that and encourage people and to talk about these issues really is simply stunning. >> such a beautiful family in that photo and really such a composed man considering what happened. kyung lah, thank you very much for that. want to talk about victoria soto, she adored her students calling them her kids.
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when the shooting started, she did what she could to protect them. tonight, residents of stratford, connecticut, remembered her. people at a candlelight vigil wore green. the 27-year-old's favorite color. she taught first grade at sandy hook elementary school. cnn's jason carroll joins me now with more on that vigil. how is this community dealing with this extraordinary loss right now? >> they're just completely torn up. there's no other way to say it, to see the number of people, hundreds who came out here at stratford high school. this is where victoria, vicki as everyone called her, vicki soto, this is where she graduated back in 2003. when everyone got together here tonight, they did their best to remember her. they talked about how soto always wanted to be a teacher, ever since she was a little girl. she talked about wanting to be a teacher, that's what her friends said. tonight they talked about the heroic actions that she took in her classroom when the gunman burst through the door, how she
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rushed the kids into a closet to try and save them and then of course the gunman took her life. as we were out here tonight with her sisters and her brother, her cousins and all of her friends, and doing what they can to remember her, i spoke to one young woman, a friend of soto's for many, many years. just listen to how she struggled to talk about how she will remember her. >> she was always at the house smiling. she drove us to cheerleading practices a couple of times. i'm also a teacher and i can't even imagine going through what she went through. i think her putting herself out there -- she's just an angel and she just went straight into heaven. there's no doubt about that. >> don, the reason why soto's family decided to hold this vigil tonight, the reason why
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they showed up and gave us pictures, pictures by the way that soto's mother picked out because they were her favorite pictures. the reason why they did all this is because they did not want soto to be remembered as just a victim. they wanted her to be remembered as a dedicated teacher, a loving daughter, a loving sister. at one point her sister, carley, she stood up and spoke to everyone who came out here today and she said the words that she had tweeted earlier today. she said, hug your loved ones, tell them how much you love them because you never know when you will ever see them again. these were the words spoken by her younger sister, 19-year-old carley. this is how they want her remembered. don? >> jason, you are exactly right. these are not just victims. they're extraordinary people who have led extraordinary lives and taken away way too soon. jason carroll, thank you very much for that report. witnesses say the first shots rang out yesterday just after the morning announcements were being read at sandy hook
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elementary school. police are trying to hammer down exactly what happened before that moment. and our tom foreman has a breakdown on what investigators know so far. >> police are searching over an immense area for any clue why this happened. they've searched the brother's apartment down here in new jersey. they believe the gunman went directly here after his mother's murder and emerged from his car in the parking lot carrying weapons very much like these. but what happened then? let's look at the time line based on police radio reports and eyewitnesses. 9:30 in the morning, that's when we believe that he emerged from his car and headed into the school here. we don't know that this is his car. but they've paid a lot of attention to this vehicle over the past few days. here is where he encountered his first barricade because there
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was a security system on the doors there recently put in by the principal, where he would have to be buzzed in. police later found that the glass here had been shot out or broken out in some fashion. that seems to be how he entered the school. what happened after that? well, the first call to the police that said there was a problem came at 9:36. the first call saying there is gunfire inside the school. obviously people in the school knew it because they could either hear it directly or because they heard it over the school's p.a. system, there were announcements being made at the time. all the shooting took place in a a very small area up in this part of the school. it was important that everybody else have some idea that this was going on so they could try to be safe in these circumstances. beyond that, what happened? at 9:38, police were saying already they were hearing reports that the shooting was over. an incredibly short period of time. 2, 2 1/2 minutes, maybe, where the bulk, if not all of the shooting took place.
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what was the next phase of all of this? the next phase came when at about 9:40, police at the school said, we need some emergency medical services here. that was the first call for ambulances. it was for two ambulances to begin with and then as they realized they had many more victims in a matter of minutes, there was a call for many, many more emergency medical technicians and ambulances to come to the school. and then surprisingly, by 9:50 in the morning, police were essentially saying that they had a suspect who was down, meaning they had had one suspect who is dead, they had secured the building to some degree. they'd cleared the building is the language they used. and a lot of the kids were being led away. this is a picture from "the newtown bee" of the kids being led away. this is a very short period of time, from 17 to 20 minutes that this went from nothing happening to all of these events happening that have changed the lives of so many people.
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and police will continue going over and over and over again the details of the movement of this shooter and his victims to try to get a better understanding of precisely how it all happened. >> tom, thanks. what happened in that building affected everyone. the tragedy is tough for the entire community here. and those not directly affected still want to make a difference. earlier, i spoke with two women trying to do just that. when you came up to talk to me, you ladies could barely get the words out. >> this is -- there are no words. there are no words. and even right now, we know that families are crying together, trying to get through day to day. and we feel that since we weren't directly impacted, we feel like we want to be able to use our voices to say things that we know that people are going to be saying for a long time after the cameras are gone. and sometimes it's after the
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cameras are gone that things stop working. and motion stops. >> for you, you've been crying the entire time you're standing here. >> there are no words. there are no adequate words to describe what has happened here and how children and parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts and people who live far away who just know that we are here, there are no words. and this can happen to anyone anywhere. we need to make our children feel safe to go back to school. and i want to know how we can do that. i want someone to give us an answer to this question. >> by you asking, some of those questions may be answered. and you are making a difference. you are helping. >> we hope so. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. how old are your kids? >> i have an 11 and 14-year-old.
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>> what grades? >> sixth and ninth. >> are you going to send them to school? >> i'm going to send them to school as long as i can tell them that somebody is doing something different to make them feel safe. >> how old are your kids? >> my daughter is 11 and my son is 8. >> are you going to send them to school? >> if i feel that they're safe, if i feel that they're safe. >> thank you. >> it's just unbelievable. >> thank you. i'm so sorry. thank you. >> i think that's all, thank you. >> can i have this note for every parent? >> yeah. thank you so much for the kind of coverage that you're -- you've been very sensitive.
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>> those women didn't want their faces on camera. they said we could shoot them from the side because they had been crying all day. the reason they came here, they said they were watching the broadcast earlier and i asked, how do you explain to your children, what do you do next? and this is the note that they wrote to me before they walked away. i said, please let me put it on camera. they said, earlier you asked someone being interviewed what we would want our country to do for our community. this is what we would like. right away, we need specific plans and actions to improve safety for our children and our schools before they're expected to return to school. we feel we could better ensure our children's safety by placing a permanent officer in each of our schools in newtown so they will know that someone is there for the purpose of protecting their school and then they went on saying what else they would like. basically they want to make sure that their kids are safe when they go to school. they said their kids are asking them questions that they can't answer and they're afraid to go back to school in the coming
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weeks. a lot of parents really are asking those questions right now. i thought it was important to get them on, put them on camera and let their voices be heard. tonight, a lot of parents watching these events at home, while their hearts ache for their families, they have to be worried, they have to be worried. could it happen here? we're going to look at school safety in a moment. also a young man who ran to the school when he heard the shots. his story is next. [ woman ] dear cat, your hair mixes with pollen and dust. i get congested. but now, with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant. zyrtec-d® lets me breath freer, so i can love the air. [ male announcer ] zyrtec-d®. behind the pharmacy counter. no prescription needed. for a professional cleansing device?
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i want to give you a quick update now on today's developments here in newtown, connecticut. tomorrow will no doubt be another emotional day here. the president is coming to meet with the victims' families. he's also going to be attend an interfaith vigil scheduled for tomorrow evening. the shooter's father released a statement tonight. the father's name is peter lanza. he says, words cannot express his family's heartbreak. he says the family is in what he calls a state of disbelief. six women, 20 children died at sandy hook elementary.
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that number includes 12 girls and eight boys. 16 of the kids were only 6 years old. the others had turned 7 in just the last few months. i want to bring in now a student at newtown high school. you actually ran into the school when you heard the shots. you stayed home from school that day by happenstance. you ran into the school. what happened? >> i did not actually run into the school but i was very close to the perimeter of the school and that's where -- as soon as i entered the driveway of the school, we saw a lot of police cars there. >> you were at home. did you hear shots? what did you -- >> well, my neighbor called us claiming she heard shots. and that's when we heard a lot of sirens going off. and that's when we got very concerned because the school did not pick up the phone. we called the school. they did not pick up the phone. that was when we really became concerned.
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>> once you got there, you said you got to the perimeter of the school. >> right. >> once you got there, then what? >> then it was just horrifying. within a matter of three minutes, we saw two students being carried out by state troopers. they were not moving. they were very pale and it was just a very horrifying scene. and then a third female came out. she had a lot of blood over her face. it was just horrible. it was blood splatter from other students was my guess because she was walking fine. >> these are young people that we're talking about, 5, 6, 7 years old. >> yeah, no more than that. it was horrible. >> did you feel helpless in not being able to do anything? >> you know, i think that's the best word to describe it. helpless. i was waiting for my sister. it was 20 minutes between the time i saw those other females -- >> your sister goes to the school? >> yes, she does.
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>> you didn't know -- >> i didn't know what was happening to her. >> your sister is 7? >> she's 9. >> she's 9? >> correct. >> not knowing in those moments -- >> it was horrible. thoughts were running through my head, all my memories with her were running through my head during those 20 minutes. it seemed like days. but it was horrifying. >> when did she come out? >> she came out about 20 minutes after the -- i saw the other students -- the two other students that unfortunately were pronounced dead later on. and the students -- all the students were crying and sobbing. and they were just -- they were traumatized. >> how's your sister doing? >> she's doing well. again, she's very traumatized naturally. but i credit the teachers for keeping them calm. they're very heroic teachers that day. the principal, there were multiple teachers that did a
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fantastic job keeping the children calm. >> what did your sister say? did she hear anything -- >> yeah. the first thing she told me was that she had heard the intercom system come on and through the intercom, she heard screams and bullets -- she heard the gunshots and the screams occurring in the main office of the building. that's ultimately when the school went into lockdown. >> a 9-year-old. can you imagine a 9-year-old having to deal with that? i just can't. >> it's traumatic. >> tell us -- talk to our viewers and everyone who's watching here about how you guys are doing, your sister, your family, the community? >> first off, i'd really like to give my condolences to everyone who's suffering from this, families of the victims, it's an absolute tragedy. but i have a lot of confidence in newtown. culturally we're a very, very strong town. and we stick together. we're a tight-knit community.
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i know we're going to work through this. everyone cares about everyone. and that's just who we are. that's our culture. >> you're 17? >> yes. >> the shooter is 20. did you know him? >> no. but upon hearing he was 20, i was shocked. i was lost for words. how could someone so young commit such a heinous act. >> you don't know his family? >> i do not. i do not. >> thank you. >> thank you. i appreciate it. >> we're glad your sister is okay. again, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone here. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. >> it's going to be amazing just to watch this community in the coming days try to deal with this, to see how they're going to cope, how the world is going to try to help them get through it, what words of comfort the president will offer them as well. we'll be here to cover it for
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you here on cnn. a little while ago, i took a walk through this town, this town of just 27,000 people, all of them still trying to process the horror of what happened just down the road. right behind me, that's the road that leads up to the school where this happened. it has been blocked off. you can see the sign here right across the street on that porch, it says, god bless sandy hook. and right here in the middle of the square, 26 candles for all of the victims in this tragedy right here at the time square. and up the street, a church where the victims are being memorialized. this is one of the intimate little squares here in sandy hook. you can see the little quaint stores, beautiful little stores. and then come this way, you can see just the media. and people have taken this square over. when i talk to people here, they say, there's never this many people. there are never this many people who come to this town on a saturday or sunday.
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to see how intimate and beautiful this town is, look, a creek that runs right through it. the people of this small town probably never dreamed that their town would be the focus of such pain and anguish and sorrow. this is the newtown united methodist church and where a lot of the media are camped out. there's the church behind me. it's been opened now for 24 hours. it's going to be open more 24 hours for as long as they need it here. some of the members of that
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church died and anyone who wants to come by and pay their respects to the people who died, anyone who needs help from this church, they can come here and get it. after this shooting inside sandy hook elementary school, the safety issue will now be front and center at schools across the country. do classrooms need to be changed into panic rooms or as i've been saying earlier, can we make classrooms into mini prisons? it seems like what we may have to make our schools in order to be safe. i want to bring in lou palumbo. some schools already have roaming officers, metal detectors, officers roaming the hallways. what can we do to make our schools safer? do we need all of these measures in place? >> well, apparently based on this incident that took place up here yesterday, i guess you could support that argument. it's just unfortunate to think that we're going to have to create environments for our children to learn in that are a bit more secure. and i don't think my recommendations are anything that are extreme. i mentioned to you earlier, don, one thing i would do is lock these classroom doors. i would change the doors and fortify the locks and upgrade them. the same on entering the building. there's a condition what we call a mantrap. that's when you enter from an
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outer door into a type of foyer area where there's another door and that door is secured until they're comfortable with who you are. i think we need to address bigger issues that are not just impacting our educational institutions but our entire country. it has to do with your safety, our peace of mind. >> i don't know if you got a chance to hear the two mother that is came up and wrote me the letter about what they say to their kids. they say, our kids are asking all those questions. we don't have the answers. they're asking us about going back to school on monday. how do you reassure parents and even students that they're safe at school? can you reassure them? can you be sure of that? >> apparently you cannot. what i would do in the transitional period in particular for these children up here, i would have some type of uniform law enforcement presence
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to ease them through a transition of comfort again to where they can start to relax and feel a bit more secure and a bit more safe. i don't think the gravity of this situation for all of us has set in yet, not in this community and not in this nation. i don't think people really have thought this through what the anguish was for these babies in that classroom. it's a little disturbing to even speak about it. >> that this happens -- i said amazing earlier, and the perplexing sense of that word that every time we hear about this, we say, you know, the community's resilient. they'll get through it. we shouldn't be having to say that. >> without question. and we shouldn't be burying children at this age. it's symptomatic of a much larger problem in our country. >> i went on the air i think it was about 11:40 on friday and i was talking to you about safety and security. and i said, lou, you send your kids off to school and this is the worst phone call that you can get. then we thought maybe it was
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just some angry parent or someone who had just come in and that was the only person involved. and then an hour later, we find out it's 20 children involved in this shooting. we have to stop this. we have to look at mental health issues and we have to look at gun laws in this country. >> we have to address this interpretation we have of the constitution. and i would say interject some level of common sense, decency and sensibility. no one's opposed to is second amendment. i'm certainly not. a lot of people are. >> i think when people see us do this -- they say, no one's trying to do that. it's something people are trying to make an issue of. let's really talk about this, lou. we don't cover multiple stabbings where 20 people -- 26 people die in a school. we don't cover where molotov cocktail goes off in the school or anything of that nature.
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it's usually from someone with some type of assault weapon and someone who has a sick mind who goes in and does these sorts of things. >> the real unfortunate part is coupled with a sick mind or derangement or delusion, we have a vehicle of delivery of their message. that's where the firearm comes in. what we spoke to earlier is knowing a bit more about the people we're putting these firearms in the hands of. talking about just screening people psychologically. this is not an anomaly. this is becoming a pattern. although they would like to statistically address this by saying the number of times or the percentage of these incidents in direct proportion to our population are .5%. that's a great statistic unless it's your child. but there are ways we can do this. i think what we have to do is take the political aspect of this thing out and sit down the people who have the ability to change the way we're addressing this. this is a disgusting problem
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that we're dealing with -- >> and it's something that we have to deal with. thank you. >> without question. >> and as you say, take the politics out of it. it's a commonsense issue, not a left/right issue. thank you very much. most of us can't even imagine how this can happen. but some people can because they have been through it before. cnn's josh levs tells us how victims of the 1999 columbine shooting are reacting to this horror. >> millions of people all over the world are mourning for the people who were killed in connecticut. but there's a certain group of people in this country, a very small group, fortunately, that can associate in a way that most of us cannot imagine. these are people who know what it's like to be at school when a typical day turns into carnage. some of them are survivors of the columbine massacre 14 years ago, some of whom are now parents themselves. i spoke with one who's now a mom, casey johnson. >> you lose the sense that things could never happen to you.
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so many parents would say, this would never happen at my child's school. for me as a parent of a child, i believe this could easily happen at my child's school because that's because it has happened to me before. i would hope that the people involved will walk beside these children and the families for the years to come. they have years and years of healing that they're going to be facing. and i hope that we can come beside them and encourage them and focus positively on the lives of the ones that were lost. >> i want you to meat shawn graves. shawn was shot six times at columbine. he ended up spending more than a year in a wheelchair. to this day, he has some pain because of it. i spoke with him about how the news from connecticut is affecting him. >> i live with pain physically on a daily basis because of the injuries that i sustained. but looking back then, i try not to think about it. but when something like this
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happens, that's the first thing you do. you begin to relive it. and turning it on to the -- putting on the news and just watching the coverage live from this point of view versus where i was then, it will take you through an emotional toll, that's for sure. >> and a lot of the survivors of columbine were actually reaching out to families in connecticut, some of them have formed a group now that reach out to families after mass shootings and they are just among the many around the world who are mourning in the wake of this tragedy. we invite you to share your thoughts, condolences at >> josh, thank you very much. let's not forget the first victim of this tragedy here in newtown, the mother of the shooter. next, more about her and the weapons that ended up in the hands of her troubled son. [ female announcer ] born from the naturally sweet monk fruit,
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we'll have more on the shooting in just a moment. but first, some other stories that we're following and monitoring for you here on cnn, including an aboutface by house speaker john boehner on tax rates. a source tells cnn that for the first time, the house speaker is open to raising rates on the wealthiest americans to avoid
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the fiscal cliff. but he wants higher rates to only apply to those making $1 million a year or more. president barack obama wants rates to rise for those making more than $250,000 a year. it looks like massachusetts senator john kerry will be nominated to take over for hillary clinton as the state department. a democratic source tells cnn, president obama has chosen kerry for the post. on thursday, u.n. ambassador susan rice withdrew her name from consideration for that job. hillary clinton meanwhile is recovering at home tonight after suffering a concussion from a fall when she fainted. she's been dealing with a stomach virus all week and became dehydrated. her scheduled congressional testimony next thursday about the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi has been postponed. some developments to tell you about from here in newtown.
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first, president obama will be here tomorrow. the white house says the president will meet with the families of the victims, the 20 children and six adults killed in the elementary school yesterday. as for the alleged shooter, police say they have found very good evidence in his home and they are piecing together a possible motive. lanza's mother, the suspect's mother, was killed in that house before the deadly rampage at the school. i want to show you this picture that we got in to cnn just a couple of hours ago. it shows the suspect in 2005, he was about 13 years old in this picture. he was 20 yesterday when he shot himself dead after that shooting rampage at sandy hook elementary school. cnn's susan candiotti is also here in newtown. and she has been tracking the investigation both at the school and at the suspected killer's home. >> reporter: investigators are learning more each day that may explain what led 20-year-old
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adam lanza to launch a vicious attack on young children and adults at an elementary school. >> our investigators at the crime scene, the school and secondarily at if secondary crime scene that we discussed where the female was located deceased, did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in hopefully painting the complete picture as to how and more importantly why this occurred. >> reporter: police won't say that what evidence is. however, investigators have been checking out gun ranges and sporting goods stores. they followed a lead the shooter tried to buy a gun tuesday at this location. after searching store surveillance videos, the tip didn't pan out. >> to date, atf has not uncovered any information that would substantiate the fact that he tried to acquire guns recently. we're actively investigating. >> reporter: federal gun agents also said they recovered weapons at the home the shooter shared
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from his mother. sources say three more guns were found. these three rifle models, all older are being traced. at least one has been connected to the mother. three more weapons were discovered with the shooter in a classroom where he took his own life. according to law enforcement officials, the two handguns and semiautomatic long gun called a bushmaster were bought legally by his mother. the chief medical examiner says that long gun was used to kill several victims. >> i only did seven of the autopsies. the victims i had ranged from three to 11 wounds apiece. i only saw two of them with postrange shooting. all the wounds that i know of at this point were caused by the long weapon. >> reporter: one relative describes the shooter as being a very bright young man who at times was homeschooled by his mother. a law enforcement official tells us that his older brother says that his younger brother was autistic. but so far, nothing adds up to a motive.
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susan candiotti, cnn, newtown, connecticut. >> the shooter's mother has emerged as one of the more mysterious figures in the investigation. her son apparently used one of her own guns to kill her. but there's still so much we don't know about her. cnn's david ariosto joins us now with what's new on this. david, what do we know about nancy lanza? >> right here, we're here in front of nancy lanza's house. it's a little bit further down the road. we've been digging on that very question. it's an incomplete picture as to who this woman really was. we spoke with neighbors in the area here. many of them have recalled a person who is a very pleasant person to talking with, loved gardening, loved landscaping. would often attend these sort of dice game, ladies night get-togethers every so often, perhaps every couple of months. she was the kind of woman that sort of leaned on her neighbors
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but was only really familiar with some of the neighbors in the immediate vicinity. you kind of think of your own neighborhood and how many neighbors you actually know outside those initial few blocks. so the neighbors that we did get to speak with did get to know nancy, but it's really not all that clear what was behind the scenes. she moved here in 1998 with her husband. they had two boys. she later divorced and raised her two boys in this area. what transpired later, however, is really somewhat unclear because there's this other side to nancy. she had several guns and one individual that i spoke to, a business owner, said that at one point she even brandished a rifle that she had recently purchased. this individual also said that she would go target shooting. it's not clear if that occurred at a range or just around on certain trees or what actually he meant by that.
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but then law enforcement and atf and fbi officials said essentially that wasn't the case. they weren't at a shooting range. that didn't occur. but really what a lot of people here are trying to get answers to is just what motivated her son to do this? what transpired inside the house -- and there's a lot of people really reeling from this and left with this sort of a speechless quality about it, even a day after. i know myself, i went down to the firehouse just yesterday as families were coming out of this firehouse that was meant to be a weigh station. and toward the early morning hours of that tumultuous day, you'd see families walking out with loved ones, children who were teary-eyed, shaken but clearly they were walking out with their children. and as the day progressed, these families would walk out childless. and this is just one of these things that it's not going to be an easy end even as the days --
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>> and david, clearly it breaks your heart. as you said, there are a lot of unanswered questions. there were some initial reports that she, nancy lanza, originally worked for the school. but that isn't true, is it? >> a lot of information coming in from all angles here that we get in. it seems credible. and then it turns out not to be the case. there were some initial local reports that indicated that she might have worked in the school system. what we later found out is that she actually had a background in finance and had taken some time off and was staying here. what her connection was to the school is unclear. if there's any, which also raises more questions as to why her son chose this school to go in and commit this heinous act. >> david ariosto, thank you very much for your reporting. we know the shooter had three guns with him inside the school. those guns were registered to
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his mother. but we don't know how he got them. so can anyone be held responsible for this deadly attack? karen conti is a trial attorney in chicago. can we expect lawsuits to be filed and against whom? >> lawsuits get filed for a lot of reasons other than money because obviously money doesn't replace children. a lot of people file lawsuits to get information that they can't otherwise get through the authorities. sometimes they just want to blame someone for and hold someone accountable for the senseless violence. and sometimes they just want to change things in the future, maybe change the laws and the safety procedures. so just a note about that, the parents who are angry and upset about these things will bring lawsuits. now, i just don't see a viable lawsuit here because who are you going to sue? the school seemed like they did a great job, they had the precautions in place. this was an adult person who did this. you can't hold the parents responsible.
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i don't really see a valid lawsuit. >> yeah. that was my next question because the legal defense here would be the fact that the suspect is over the age of 18. he is an adult. therefore, he's the only one responsible for the actions. but they were not his guns. maybe he shouldn't have gotten access to the guns. but the person the guns belonged to is now deceased. >> that's right. and that doesn't mean that the families couldn't sue the estate of the mother. but they would have to prove that she in some way, shape or form knew that he had the propensity to do this and this individual had asperger's syndrome, which is a form of autism. but it has no relation to violence. but if she had prior knowledge -- but even that is very tenuous. >> in oregon, we saw the guns being stolen. we saw here the guns belonged to the mother and he got access to
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the guns. can we expect to see some changes in the law here because of what happened? >> i think what we saw in connecticut is just prior to this, after the aurora, colorado, theater shooting, they tried to change the laws and make it a little more stringent. but there was such protest that it all got stricken down. i do see, though, that we have a law in illinois called the illinois school safety drill act which requires schools to annually have drills to kind of prepare for not only these kinds of things but weather issues, tornadoes, fires and the like, evacuation procedures in place, p.a. systems, et cetera. i think we're going to see a massive amount of legislation across the country requiring schools to do this. >> karen conti, thank you. earlier one of the most compelling moments of this tragedy, a father who lost his daughter in the shooting, bravely tells the world about the little girl that not only he lost but one of the many that we all lost. that's next.
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we have a quick update on today's developments in newtown, connecticut. president barack obama coming here tomorrow to meet with the victims' families. he's also expected to attend an interfaith vigil scheduled to be held tomorrow evening. the shooter's father, peter lanza, issued a statement tonight offering his condolences to the victims' families. and we have learned more about the victims inside the school. six women and 20 students died there. 12 girls, eight boys, all 6 or 7 years old. the state's chief medical examiner says all of them died from gunshot wounds. there are so many people who are now trying to emotionally handle this tragedy, friends, family and residents of newtown, connecticut, trying to start down that road to recovery right now. our dr. sanjay gupta visited a grief center today and he talked to some of them. listen to what he told anderson earlier.
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>> when we got there, there were literally 100 cars in the parking lot. we weren't filming anything out of respect for people's privacy. but people were walking out with children, probably children from the school, a lot of parents walking with them into the school. and there were psychiatrists, psychologists, children's counselors in the school. i think what was striking is people were going in and they were staying in for a long time. this was sort of a grieving but also healing going on. also this whole idea that the community was sort of an individual, meaning that you saw that someone else was going through the same thing you were. and people were being comforted by that in some way. >> it's interesting. i was talking to my mom who lost a son, my brother. and she was saying for her, it helped to talk about it. and i've heard that from a lot of people here, that it helps to talk. and yet other people kind of
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aren't ready to talk about it or can't talk about it at this point. >> yeah. i think the timing seems to be different for different people which is why i didn't know what to expect when i went to that crisis center today. but it seems like this community for the most part is ready to talk. this is obviously a small sample size. but people are talking about it. and the feeling of isolation, thinking that i'm going through this alone, that no one quite understands what this has done to me can be quite painful and quite damaging long term as well. if you see other people going through it -- even just being there in the crisis center with other people, i think, seemed to be therapeutic for them. >> and a lot of parents here and around the world are trying to figure out how to talk to their kids about it. i talked to some parents last night whose kids were in the school and thankfully had survived. and they were saying they were waiting for their child to kind of bring it up to them. and that's one way to do it. >> you have to assume that they know. obviously the children in the school know. but even other children in the community know, even if they haven't been watching television
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just in today's day and age. the thing that keeps coming back is they sort of direct the conversation. so you sort of get your own feelings in check first as an adult or as a parent. and then you fill in details as appropriate, as age appropriate, leaving out obviously graphic details. but this whole idea that you don't want to be false or you want to be very transparent in terms of what you tell them -- i had this conversation with my daughter. she started asking about some of the names of the children. i think it's interesting they immediately want to humanize this in some way for themselves. it's a tough conversation to have. she wanted to know if her school was going to be safe. i had to say, look, daddy's school never had this happen to him. mommy's school never had it happen to her. but this obviously happened. we do the best we can to keep you safe. it's tough but an important conversation. >> and one father refuses to think of his daughter as just the victim of a horrible crime. this is how robbie parker says he'll remember his 6-year-old little girl.
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>> i'd really like to offer our deepest condolences to the families who were directly affected by this shooting. it's an horrific tragedy and we want everybody to know that our hearts and our prayers go out to them. this includes the family of the shooter. i can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you and i want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well. my daughter, emilie, would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support to all those victims because that's the type of person that she is, not because of any parenting that my wife and i could have done, but because those were the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father. i have two really good friends
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at home who have set up a facebook page to help raise money for emilie. when i've gotten on that and seen the number of people who have commented and expressed their condolences, it's been quite overwhelming. as the deep pain begins to settle into our hearts, we find comfort reflecting on the incredible person that emilie was and how many lives that she was able to touch in her short time here on earth. emilie was bright, creative and very loving. emilie was always willing to try new things, other than food. she loved to use her talents to touch the lives of everyone that she came into contact with. she was an exceptional artist and she always carried around her markers and pencils so she never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those around her. i can't count the number of times emilie noticed someone feeling sad or frustrated and
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would rush to find a piece of paper to draw them a picture or to write them an encouraging note. emilie's card making was expressed beautifully this last october when she placed a very special card she had made into the casket with her grandpa, who also just recently died of a tragic accident. emilie was a mentor to her two little sisters and delighted in teaching them how to read, dance and find the simple joys in life. emilie's laughter was infectious and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she's been in it. she was their best friend. they were all born within three years of each other so by law, they're very close. she was teaching my middle daughter to read. she would help my youngest daughter learn how to make things, show her how to do crafts.
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they looked up to her and they looked to her when they needed comfort. usually that's saved for a mom and a dad. but it was really sweet to see the times when one of them would fall or get their feelings hurt, how they would run to emilie to get support and hugs and kisses. she was the type of person that could just light up a room. she always had something kind to say about anybody. and her love and the strength that she gave us and the example that she showed to us is remarkable. she is an incredible person. and i'm so blessed to be her dad. i was leaving to work and she woke up before i left. and i've actually been teaching her portuguese. so our last conversation was in portuguese.
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and she told me good morning. asked how i was doing. i said that i was doing well. she said that she loved me. i gave her a kiss and i was out the door. free agency is given to all of us to act and do what we want. god can't take that away from us. i know that that's something that he was given and that's what he chose to do with it. i know that god can't take that away. i'm not mad because i have my agency to make sure that i use this event to do what i can to do whatever i can. do whatever i can. to want to make sure that my family and my wife and my daughters are taken care of and that if there's anything that i can do to help anybody at any time, anywhere, i'd be willing to do that. as we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many